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Iain Farrell

Programme Manager, Double Eleven

Values-driven management which grows sensibly whilst always putting its people first, allows their team staff to do their best work and further secure independence and stability.

Growing a gaming business comes with opportunities as well as responsibilities. Double Eleven is an independent games publisher and developer that has grown from around 80 to nearly 400 staff in the past few years. 

Prioritising staff wellbeing and growth

Iain Farrell, the studio’s Programme Manager, says: “We have a ‘people-first’ philosophy, a commitment to making our industry better, normalising good work-life balance in an industry not always known for that.”

Farrell explains that the games industry has a reputation for burnout. To prevent this, Double Eleven’s leads work in conjunction with staff and partners to set realistic deadlines and provide ongoing development and wellbeing support. Allowing staff to switch to another project for a different partner helps them grow further within the company

We integrate with our partners to try and feel like
a part of their team — but we don’t compromise
on our people-first approach.

Having a healthy production culture

The studio provides support on every aspect of game production. “We have built our reputation on providing top technical skills, but that grew organically over time. Working so closely with other companies is a privilege. We integrate with our partners to try and feel like a part of their team — but we don’t compromise on our people-first approach,” Farrell says. 

Ultimately, working long hours isn’t the best way to get results. It can lead to burnout and decreased productivity.  Instead, Double Eleven prefers to work with teams and partners to define realistic milestones. Staff are not pressured to work overtime; if needed, it is always voluntary and paid. 

Approaching growth with care

As the business has grown, it has recruited staff at a rapid pace. It attributes its steady growth to the company’s directors, who are committed to stability and looking after people rather than chasing short-term profits.

“For example, we have expanded our dedicated People and Culture team, which is in charge of our employees’ experience — starting with talent acquisition, continuing with onboarding and then offers ongoing wellbeing and learning and development support,” Farrell explains. 

At both studio locations in Middlesbrough and Kuala Lumpur, the company arranges weekend events for colleagues and their families; some of whom have relocated to work at the studio. “We want people to feel welcome, so we arrange family-oriented tours or trips to local landmarks. We also provide perks like birthdays off and permanent access to an online wellbeing support platform because, ultimately, we value staff above all else.” 

Farrell insists that if businesses ensure flexibility and a rewarding culture are ingrained into the company, their teams can be empowered to give their best — translating into high-quality, creative work. 

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